“MADtv” Alum Aries Spears Plays Improv; Simone Felice Sings Stories at Club Cafe; (CPs Thurs., 6/26/14)

1) New York native Aries Spears didn’t rest on his laurels when he left FOX’s “MADtv” in 2005, though the show had been his bread and butter since 1997. He hit the ground running with a “Comedy Central Presents” special that year and did a short stint on Showtime with Damon Wayans on the short-lived “The Underground.” He has also made guest appearances on everything from “CSI: Miami” to “The Boondocks.” But the real magic happens when this natural-born comedian returns to his roots, stand-up comedy, and hits the road with his hilarious Shaq impression. He has been touring internationally, and you’ll get the chance to see him tonight at 8 p.m. at Pittsburgh Improv, with additional shows throughout the weekend. 166 E. Bridge St., The Waterfront, Homestead.

2) When targeting Simone Felice‘s accomplishments, it’s tough to know where to begin. First and foremost, he’s a singer-songwriter-storyteller with a Dylan-esque voice. Beyond that, he is the survivor of a brain aneurysm that robbed him of basic motor skills for two months, a published poet and fiction writer, and an occasional hermit. His band, The Felice Brothers, also includes his brothers Ian and James and their friend Doc Brown. Following the 2001 terrorist attack, brothers Simone and Ian took to the woods for five years, spurning society and writing songs. When they emerged in 2006, they formed their band and released their first album. To date, they’ve released 10 albums, the latest hitting on June 17. Simone Felice will be at Club Cafe for a night of singing and storytelling, with special guest The Mixus Brothers. 8 p.m. 56 S. 12th St., South Side.

3) Summer heat getting to you? Come see Frozen, a 2014 Disney release about two sisters, one of whom has magical powers that allow her to freeze anything around her. There’s the usual goofy sidekick and a lot of singing, including the very popular “Let It Go,”  sung in 25 (count them) different languages. Allegheny County is showing the Academy Award winner as part of its annual Movies in the Park series. So, pack the kids and lawn chairs into the van and head to Round Hill Park. The movie starts at dusk. Free. 651 Round Hill Rd., Elizabeth.

4) Today is one of your last chances to view “Detroit: Artists in Residence” at The Mattress Factory, an exhibition of edgy and thought-provoking works by five Detroit-based artists. Artists Gina Reichert (“Following the Sun 2”) and Mitch Cope of DESIGN 99 utilize wind and solar energy collected on the roof to power a piece that encourages observation of the physical and technical realm within the context of a space designed to stimulate thought and introspection. My City Is Your City by Jessica Frelinghuysen is primarily an auditory experience created from recordings the artist made while walking around the Hamtramck section of Detroit in her custom-made Sound-Collecting Suit. And, yes, that is exactly what it sounds like. The remaining three pieces are every bit as unique and provocative. The installations, which opened last September, ends June 29. 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1 – 5 p.m. Sunday. 500 Sampsonia Way, North Side.

5) The Pirates open a four-game set against the visiting New York Mets tonight at PNC Park. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. 115 Federal St., North Shore.

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Daniel J. Dombrowski

Daniel J. Dombrowski is a freelance writer and editor living and working in Pittsburgh, Pa.

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